There are a number of common questions we are asked by clients throughout the personal injury claims process, so we have put together these answers to help demystify the claims process and give clients confidence when considering whether to pursue a claim.
Confused by any of the legal terminology you may have heard thrown around? Check out our personal injury claims jargon guide for clear explanations of all the key terms.
Have a question we haven’t answered or want to find out more about starting a personal injury claim? We offer a free initial consultation for all new personal injury claims clients, so why not get in touch to book yours?
Your personal injury claims questions answered
Am I entitled to personal injury compensation?
If you have been involved in an accident where you were hurt and another party was wholly or partially responsible for the accident, then you are entitled to make a compensation claim.
This could be against a person, company, local authority or any other organisation that had a duty of care towards you and that breached that duty of care, leading to your accident.
Common examples of situations where you may be owed personal injury compensation include where:
- A motorist failed to drive with due care and attention, causing them to collide with you and leading to you being injured
- You tripped over a loose paving stone that a local council had failed to maintain properly
- You were involved in an accident at work due to your employer failing to maintain a safe working environment
Even if you were partially at fault, you can usually still claim as long as you can show someone else was also partly to blame.
It is worth noting that accidents do happen and you cannot claim compensation if nobody was at fault for the accident, even if the injuries are severe. If the accident was the result of someone else’s negligence, however, it is strongly recommended to find out whether you may be able to claim.
How much will I get for a personal injury claim?
This will be determined based on the level of your injury and its impact on your life. The general principle is that the compensation should help to make right any consequences you have suffered due to your injuries, including pain and suffering, financial losses and changes to your ability to carry out normal activities (known as ‘loss of amenity’).
How are personal injury claims calculated?
The damages available for personal injuries are split into two broad categories:
These cover specific financial losses due to a personal injury, both to date and expected future losses.
Examples of things you can claim special damages for include:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Care fees
- The cost of buying specialist equipment
- Loss of income
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Repairing or replacing damaged property
These cover non-financial losses due to a personal injury, such as:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering
- Losing the ability to carry out activities you previously could (loss of amenity)
- The impact on your quality of life
- Loss of a unique career (if your injuries mean you can no longer carry out your previous job and must change career)
What is the time limit for personal injury claims?
The standard time limit to make a personal injury claim is 3 years, with this usually being counted from the date when your injury occurs.
However, technically, the 3-year time limit is counted from the ‘date of knowledge’ which is that date on which you should reasonably have been aware that a) you had suffered an injury and b) someone else was at least partly to blame. This can mean you have much longer to claim if your injuries or the fact another partly was at fault only come to light later.
There are also exceptions that can apply, meaning there is longer to claim. Common examples include where:
- The claimant was under 18 when their injury occurred – they/their parents or guardians will have until the claimant turns 21 to claim
- The claimant lacks the mental capacity to pursue a claim – there is no time limit for someone else to pursue a claim on their behalf
- Someone died due to an accident that was someone else’s fault – their next of kin or representative of their estate will usually have 3 years from the date of death to claim
The exact time limits that apply for any individual circumstances can be difficult to understand, so it is essential to take specialist advice at the earliest opportunity.
How long do personal injury claims take?
There is no set answer to this as it depends entirely on the circumstances. If a settlement can be agreed quickly, a claim can sometimes be resolved in a matter of months. However, if a claim goes to court, it can sometimes take upwards of 2 years to secure an outcome.
Do you offer no win no fee personal injury claims?
Yes, no win, no fee funding is available for our personal injury claims clients. This means you do not have to pay anything upfront to start and claim and, if your claim is not successful, you will not receive a bill for the legal fees incurred.
If you win your claim, the costs to you will be a maximum of 25% of your claim (past losses only). In many cases, these costs can be recovered from the defendant, reducing or eliminating any cost to you.
We offer a free first meeting where we will let you know whether you have grounds for bringing a claim. We will also tell you how we can help you and what is involved when bringing a claim, including more about how no win, no fee claims work.
Who will pay me if I win my personal injury claim?
The insurers of the person or organisation which caused the accident or illness will pay you compensation. This means you do not have to worry about whether the party responsible for your injuries has the funds to cover your claim and it also means you can still make a claim even if the party has died/no longer exists.
What happens if I lose my personal injury claim?
Obviously, we hope this won’t happen, but if your claim is unsuccessful, you may have the option to appeal, depending on the circumstances. We will be happy to advise you on this and handle any appeal where appropriate.
If you claim has been funded on a no win, no fee basis, you can be assured you won’t owe us anything if your claim does not succeed.
You may be concerned that you might be liable for the defendant’s legal fees and, while this is a possibility, we take out After the Event Insurance to cover this possibility. This insurance will cover the defendant’s legal costs if your claim is unsuccessful, removing any financial risk for you.
How many personal injury claims go to court?
The vast majority of personal injury claims we handle are settled out of court with the insurers of the party responsible for our clients’ injuries.
This is usually the best option for everyone as it allows our clients to get the full compensation they are entitled to, while avoiding the need for lengthy, costly and stressful court proceedings where the outcome is uncertain.
A small percentage of personal injury claims do go to court, but this is rare. Should court proceedings be required, we will make sure your case is prepared expertly and that you have the best possible representation, as well as close personal support through what we know can be an intimidating process.
Can I claim personal injury compensation if it was partly to blame for my accident?
Yes, as long as someone else was also partly at fault, you should still be able to claim compensation.
A determination will need to be made about how much responsibility each party bears for the injuries the claimant has suffered – this will then affect how much compensation that claimant is entitled to.
For example, if the claimant and another party are found to be equally liable for the injuries the claimant suffered (i.e. a 50:50 split of the blame) then the claimant would be entitled to 50% of the damages they could have received if the other party had been entirely to blame.
Who will run my claim?
If you come to WSP Solicitors either Demelza Pallant, Lisa Walton or John Davies will run your claim. Each of the team has over 10 years’ experience in the industry, so you can guarantee you are getting someone working for you who is qualified and able to provide you with the legal advice you need. We are regulated by SRA and are accredited by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).
Can you help with rehabilitation?
Yes, this is something we can help arrange for you. We know many people living with the impact of a personal injury struggle to access the right support, so our team will do everything we can to help put you in touch with the right people and make sure you get all of the support you need.
I am struggling financially due to a personal injury – can I get money now to help?
Yes, this is definitely something we can help with once we have established who was at fault for the accident and that person or company has accepted responsibility. Once this has been achieved, we can usually agree ‘interim payments’ we can be used to meet your immediate needs.
I am in receipt of means-tested benefits, will my compensation affect this?
This is a common concern and something that does need to be considered if you are expecting to receive substantial compensation. However, any impact on your benefits can usually be avoided by placing the compensation you receive into a Personal Injury Trust. This ring-fences the compensation so it will not be counted for means-testing.
Book a free consultation with our expert personal injury solicitors
If you have suffered a personal injury and someone else was to blame, we can help you find out if you might be entitled to compensation, then handle the whole claims process for you.
To discover whether you might be owed personal injury compensation, you can book a free initial consultation with our friendly, expert personal injury solicitors. They will be able to tell you whether you may have grounds for a claim, how much compensation might be available and exactly how the claims process works, including the availability of no win, no fee funding.
To book your free initial consultation with our personal injury claims team, please contact your local WSP Solicitors office in Gloucester, Stroud or Dursley, or use our simple enquiry form and we’ll get back to you promptly.